Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not The Best Of 2009: DISAPPOINTMENT #4

One friend said, and I'm paraphrasing, he knows he's supposed to like the last three "important" Dylan albums, but "Together Through Life" is more musical. More fun. Another friend said, "I hate all those fucking Dylan albums. Gimme 'Highway 61'."

My feeling is this...I would rather watch Dylan read a magazine than listen to most other singer-songwriters. I am fascinated by his every move. As for those "important" Dylan albums--"Time Out Of Mind," "Love & Theft," and "Modern Times"---I think they would have made one brilliant Dylan album. They were all overrated. (Just a little) Still, I prefer Dylan when I don't get him right away. I want to think. I want it to be difficult. If I want "fun" and "musical," I'll put on The Monkees.

"Together Through Life" seems rushed. No one liked "Down In The Groove" or "Under A Red Sky," and each of those has some "fun" and "musical" stuff on them. Is "Wiggle Wiggle" really any worse than "Shake Shake Mama?" And doesn't anyone care that "Beyond Here Lies Nothing," the record's first single, is "Black Magic Woman?"

It's not without its winners. "Forgetful Heart" and "This Dream Of You" both knock me out, and could easily be included on the "important" albums. But to my ears, "Together Through Life," even if taken lightly...even if you admit not everything has to be "Hattie Carroll," is still not a very good record.

Here's my perfect, new millenium, Dylan album:

Cold Irons Bound
This Dream Of You
Love Sick
Forgetful Heart
Lonesome Day Blues
Nettie Moore
When The Deal Goes Down
Not Dark Yet
Workingman's Blues #2
Make You Feel My Love
Ain't Talkin'

I'd put this mix up, but it's easy enough to do yourself, and frankly, I'm not quite sure I'd get away with it.

Enjoy this instead!

I forgot I had this gem. I'm not even sure where I got it from. But here is the complete and unedited performance of The Black Crowes on VH-1's "Hard Rock Live." Sound is incredible, and I believe it features at least 2-3 unaired performances.


Sting Me
Jealous Again
Only A Fool
Thorn In My Pride
She Talks To Angels
Wiser Time
By Your Side
Hard To Handle
Twice As Hard
Kickin' My Heart Around
By Your Side (FASTER)



steves said...

Can't say I disagree with your assessment of Dylan's last few albums, although I prefer the looseness of TTL over Modern Times' ponderousness and plodding. (Also, I've always heard Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talking" as the source for "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'," but it could be any of a million others).

One of the great ironies of later-day Dylan is that, whereas in the early 1990s he took only the arrangement credit for songs he practically rewrote--such as "Blood in My Eyes" and "World Gone Wrong"--these days he lifts old blues standards wholesale and takes full writing credit. Ah, the folk tradition...

Anonymous said...

I like a lot of songs on the records,and LOVE some songs ( probably a third of each CD ) but the last three; Love And Theft , Modern, and Together all have too many retreads of that fucking Lawrence Welk shit he likes lately. (Old timey, easy listening crap like Spirit On The Water, Bye And Bye, Beyond The Horizon etc...) I defy anyone to tell the difference between any of those without the vocals.

FD13NYC said...

I must admit I was never a big Dylan fan after Desire 1976. Trouble is I did listen to some of the stuff after that and probably became bored and really didn't care. Once again artists or as some would say geniuses like him keep chuggin along. Releasing music long after the creative well has dried up, and fans follow like sheep. His later music even up until now was/is just OK maybe at best.

In my opinion, if you want good Dylan, listen to prime cuts from discs spanning the first 10-12 years of his career, period.

Once again, as always, excellent Crowes zip. Burning Wood is one of the best sources of discovering and experiencing new or old music anywhere! It keeps me going. Thanks Pal!

big bad wolf said...

i think i think TTL is a disappointing, but i am never sure with bob. he's often a step or two or twelve ahead of me. perhaps i'll know for sure by the end of 2010

both love and theft and modern times took awhile to sink in. when they did, they made me think that bob had entered, beginning with time out of mind, a third great phase. i'd say the first was bringing it all back home thru nashville skyline, and the second planet waves through desire. in this phase, he's more sly than ever and simultaneously less and more egotistical. on the one hand, he clearly appreciates and wants to be part of the tradition; on the other hand, he wants us to know that he writes smarter songs than just about anyone. how do you tell those tunes apart----by what game, often at a meta-level bob is playing with the lyrics

that said, i like your compiliation great album, sal. cold irons bound is a great great song. overall, that album suffers, i think from daniel lanois. bob's a bit buried.

the one song i'd include that you didn't was high water (for charlie patton). and i'd chaat and put either of the versions of mississippi from tell tale signs ahead of the love and theft version. that said, he put the right version on love and theft. the tell tale signs disc 1 version i find the most compelling of the three---stark, dark, and wise. the disc 2 version is nearly as good and bluesier, but the one that ended up on love and theft fits better with everything else on that album than either of the tell tale versions would have. bob's quite adept that way.

Anonymous said...

Can you really count all four of those 1997 tunes among best of the new millenium? I'd offer up Things Have Changed (2000), Cross The Green Mountain (2003), and Highwater (2001)as great tunes that actually actually come from this decade.Whatcha think ? ( Sal, of course I know you know those songs date from the 90's, but I just had to mention that there were a few more from the 2000's. )

Sal Nunziato said...

WOW! I absolutely SHOULD have included "High Water." That just slipped by me.

I chose to list "disappointments," as opposed to "worst records" because in the case of what I've listed so far, with the exception of "Tinted Windows," I still haven't given up. Like you Big Bad, I am still listening to Bob.

CatGunHome said...

When I first listened to "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" in YouTube, it was "Black Magic Woman" to my ears; I made a comment about it, and some dire-hard fans used quality expletives to explain to me that I was wrong!